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Pokémon Go mania takes over Mukilteo


Last updated 8/3/2016 at Noon

If you play Pokémon Go, here’s a tip: Mukilteo Lighthouse Park is a pocket monster jackpot.

The park is a perfect spawning ground for Pokémon because it is at the beach next to the water, is home of the historic lighthouse and has lots of large grassy fields. The little monsters love all of those things.

Since the popular geocaching game was released, however, it has spawned more than just Pokémon: Mukilteo police have received many 911 calls about players of the game.

Most of the calls are from residents who see players – who are anywhere from 10 to 50 years old – gathered in parking lots, sitting in their vehicles and wandering through backyards.

While the police department doesn’t have an exact number, the logs show an average of five Pokémon Go calls per week.

“A lot of the calls received regarding suspicious people in yards and other places have turned out to be Pokémon Go players,” said Myron Travis, spokesman for the Mukilteo Police Department.

Travis said he highlights these calls in the police logs because “it’s a hot topic right now.”

When police are dispatched to these calls, they typically ask the players to move on, but before they do, officers offer some safety tips beyond the game’s own warning that pops up each time they play: “Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.”

Pokémon Go players have been using their phone’s GPS system to capture, train and battle the computerized creatures all over town.

With the smartphone app, players have been finding Pigey, Drowzee, Magicarp and more in city parks, near landmarks, in parking lots, around businesses, in front and back yards, and along sidewalks.

Friends Adriel Crowell and Joel Rosenberg, both 17, were out catching Pokémon last week in Mukilteo. When they found a Pokémon hotspot next to the clocktower off Mukilteo Speedway, they decided to have some fun with it.

They brought a bucket of chalk with them to the clock and drew their favorite pocket monsters on the surrounding pavement – a colorful surprise for other players who might stop by.

Crowell and Rosenberg have liked Pokémon since they were each about 7 years old. They grew up collecting the cards, watching the TV shows, and playing the video games.

Now that Pokémon Go is out, they’re getting back into the craze. While Crowell is on Level 11, Rosenberg is on Level 7.

“I thought it would be interesting to play it out, and now I cannot stop,” Crowell said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

They both like that the new game requires that players go out and explore their communities.

“I think it’s really great,” Rosenberg said. “We’re all out there wandering the streets, looking for something that doesn’t exist. You get to establish a sense of community with random people you wouldn’t otherwise have seen.”

The game is not only fun to play, it’s also great exercise.

“I’ll walk to where I want to go, instead of taking the bus,” Crowell said. “It’s nice to get out of the house and spend some time outside.”

Not surprisingly, one of the friends’ favorites places to hunt for Pokémon is at the Mukilteo beach. They’ve also been to the community garden, local library and various business parks.

“When I see people walking by with their phones out, I’m like, ‘I know what you’re doing, I know what you’re doing,’” Rosenberg said. “We’re all kind of in this together.”

Here are some safety tips from the Mukilteo Police Department to follow as you catch Pokémon:

• Be aware of your surroundings. While you need to use a phone to play, you also need to use your eyes to see where you’re going. Especially watch out for sidewalk curbs.

• Stay visible. Stick to searching for Pokémon in places where you can be seen. Don’t hop any fences or go deep into the woods. Don’t play the game in the dark. If you must go out in the evening, wear reflective or bright clothing.

• Stay in a group. Don’t go wandering around alone. Not only is it safer to play with a group, but it’s also a fun bonding experience. If you must go alone, check in with a friend to let them know where you are.

• Be cautious. Don’t play the game in the street. Don’t play Pokémon Go and drive. It’s not worth getting hit by a car or causing a collision to nab a monster. Don’t trespass on private property. It’s against the law.


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